Romania is home to one third of Europe’s mineral water sources and a wealth of thermal springs.
The largest thermal spa is Felix Baths, in the western part of the country, which has numerous spa and leisure facilities and 7,000 hotel beds! The thermal waters used for various treatments have a temperature ranging from 20-49 degrees Celsius. Another local natural attraction are the two species of water lily that grow on the thermal lakes at the center of the resort: the pink-blossoming Indian Lotus (the sacred lotus or Nelumbo Nucifera), and the White Water Lily (Nymphae Lotus Thermalis).
A very old thermal spa is Geoagiu Bai, known in the Dacian period as Germisara (warm water), has written records dating to 1291. In 1986, following systematic archaeological research, an ancient thermal complex was discovered where the Romans had enlarged the previous swimming pool and distributed water using a network of terracotta pipes. Several golden votive plaques with inscriptions of gratitude for the miraculous cures attributed to the thermal waters were also uncovered.
Another aquatic attraction here is the Clocota waterfall, which is about 40m high and combines thermal waters of 33°C from 16 different springs. The resort was designated an EDEN Destination for aquatic tourism in Romania in 2010.
In the southern part of the country at the foothills of the Southern Carpathians is the Calimanesti-Caciulata resort, known since the time of Dacians and Romans and first documented in 1386. Napoleon III was treated here with mineral water from the springs. In today’s world, a wide range of facilities suitable for every age and taste is available.
The oldest thermal resort in Romania and in southeast Europe is Herculane Baths, a famous spa from the Roman period. It was first documented in 153 AD, with the name Ad Aquas Herculi Sacras Ad Mediam (the holy waters of Hercules from Ad Mediam).
During the Austro-Hungarian Empire period the Herkulesbad resort started to develop as a treatment, leisure, and cultural center, and was visited by people from all over the empire. The statue of Hercules, the resort’s symbol, was erected in 1847 at the center of the resort. Visiting the baths in 1852, Emperor Franz Joseph I said, “now the most beautiful resort on the continent is in the Cerna Valley“. It was also a favorite place for Empress Elisabeth, also known as Sissi, who visited the resort five times.
The 16 thermal springs each have different mineral characteristics, with water temperatures generally between 35°–45°C, and in some cases up to 62°C. The resort is situated in Domoglet–Cerna Valley National Park, a location of outstanding beauty in the Cerna River Valley bordered by majestic mountains.